Military leaders and cadets from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, were among those at the White House when President Joe Biden presented the Medal of Honor to retired Army Capt. Larry Taylor on Sept. 5. Taylor is a 1966 graduate of the university’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and received his commission from UT Army ROTC in June 1966.
Taylor, of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, is the third UT alumnus and the first officer commissioned through the university’s ROTC program to receive the Medal of Honor. Representing the program at the presentation ceremony were Professor of Military Science Lindy Clark, of Seneca, South Carolina, who also serves as an Army captain, and cadets Ryan Jacobik of Knoxville and Azia Compton of Athens, Tennessee.
“When duty called, Larry did everything – did everything to answer. And because of that, he rewrote the fate of four families for generations to come,” Biden said at the ceremony. “That’s valor.”
While flying in support of a nighttime mission on June 18, 1968, during the Vietnam War, Taylor worked under heavy fire to create an evacuation route for a reconnaissance team. As a last resort, he landed his two-seat Cobra attack helicopter and placed the four soldiers on the landing skids and rocket launcher pods so they could be airlifted out — the first use of an attack helicopter to extract soldiers.
“We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to have current cadets and a member of the cadre attend the ceremony,” said Army ROTC Department Head and Professor of Military Science Jimmy Lucas, an Army lieutenant colonel. “Capt. Taylor’s actions demonstrate the lengths our service members are willing to go for their brothers and sisters in arms. As a program, we are proud to call Capt. Taylor one of our own, and we are fortunate to have his example for our cadets to emulate.”
Also attending the ceremony were Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty; Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin; Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and UT Alumni Council member Logan Hickman and associate member Jeff Parrott.
Cindi King (865-974-0937, email@example.com)